In Defense of the Pocket Knife

The following is a guest post from David Roberts, who is one of the best high school English Teachers in the land by day and a defender of all things awesomely manly by night. He also happens to be my brother-in-law. The next three Wednesdays will feature posts by him as I am take a few weeks off off blogging to tackle a few other written pursuits. Enjoy!



I won’t claim that real men carry pocket knives. What I mean is, pocket knives are neither exclusive to Real Men nor a requirement for Real Manhood.
However, if you carry one, have carried one, have thought about carrying one, or don’t know what a pocket knife is, please read on.

The giants of my childhood carried a knife in their pocket or on their belt: grandpa, dad, step-dad, uncles, Rambo. In my mind, the correlation was clear: men carried knives.

I saw my grandpa skin raccoons, open envelopes, cut rope, dig out splinters, clean fingernails, all with the same pocket knife. I suppose that’s the root of why pocket knives, seemingly a vestige of some older time when dudes needed to carry sharp objects to protect themselves, have continued to be popular: so many situations render them necessary. Have you ever needed to cut fishing line, slice open a package (particularly those 100-ply-polymer-blend-government-grade plastic packages that kids’ toys seem to come in), pry a flat object from an even flatter place? In such situations, the inevitable query is, “Anybody got a pocket knife?”

I’ll tell you what: it feels good to be able to say, “Yeah, here’s mine.”

Many of the accouterments of manhood seem a bit like our appendix: nice to have, but not essential for existence. A pocket knife, on the other hand, has so much utility.

So whether you carry Buck or Case, Swiss Army or Ka-Bar, Gerber or Browning, know that you stand in solidarity with me and many others. Carry on.



3 thoughts on “In Defense of the Pocket Knife”

    1. I think I need a pocket knife. And I’m a girl. One day, my daughter had a wreck in a terrible rainstorm on the way to Kansas City. She had hydroplaned, and slid into the cement divider in the middle of the interstate. On the cell phone I asked her if she could drive – she said there was a scraping noise when she tried. I told her to get to the other side of the road if at all possible. She limped the car over to a better chance of safety on the shoulder between the trucks on the road. We got out (I was in another car) and walked back to look at the damage. Her plastic bumper was bent into her tire, hence – the scraping noise. She reached in her pocket and pulled out a huge flip-open style pocket/hunting knife. Huge. She grabbed the bumper, and with three big sliced had carved it off the car. I looked at her with pride…and wanted a knife too. I still don’t have one.

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